Karachi: Pakistani industry must prepare for compliance of 27 Conventions signed by the government, in order to reap benefits from the GSP Plus status given by the European Union (EU) to Pakistan, said Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar.
Speaking at a luncheon meeting at the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) here Friday, the Governor Punjab said that Pakistan has obtained this preferential trade status after massive lobbying and efforts from the government level. He said that Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif had sent him to the European countries for seeking support from the member countries of EU in favour of Pakistan at a juncture when we were facing fierce opposition in the EU.
He said that he lobbied among as many as 100 parliament members of the EU to win support in
Pakistan favour and even 8 delegates from France also voted in favour of Pakistan. He said that it is now up to Pakistan’s industry to get maximum benefit from GSP Plus. He said that he intimated the opposing EU members that Pakistan has lost 50,000 lives in their war against terrorism.
Chaudhry Sarwar a announced to form Pakistan-EU Business Forum in order to provide help to reap maximum benefit from GSP Plus.
Earlier, Chairman APTMA, Yasin Siddik said in his welcome address to bring textile exports to $26 billion from $13 billion in next five years after getting GSP Plus.
He said that it was the fruit of Governor Punjab’s sincere struggles that
Pakistan today has achieved the status of GSP Plus. This preferential market access to the EU countries will be a helping hand to the economy of our country and the textile industry of Pakistan would be able to boost its exports to new markets and earn valuable foreign exchange.
He said that APTMA has undertaken a number of initiatives to keep the Textile Industry at par with global standards and expectations in respect of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, compliance, standards, conservation, best practices, gender balance and the like.
For the last six years the textile industry has been stagnant in terms of employment, exports, further investments due to infrastructural impairment on account of the war on terror, lost buyers, and lately shortage of energy. Exports of textiles which had gone up to $14 billion in the year 2010-11 were dropped to $13.1 billion in 2012-13. APTMA foresees textile exports from $13b to $26b in the next few years, an investment of $1billion annually, creation of 1 million direct and indirect jobs every year, addition of 1 to 2% to GDP growth and a doubling of the cotton crop from 13 million to 26 million bales.
The GSP+ has once again opened the door to Pakistan to balance its trade deficits, if some crucial initiatives like securing raw material and supply of un-interrupted energy are taken at the government level, the Textile Industry can reach the country at new heights of prosperity.
The present energy shortage poses a serious challenge to the sustainability of the industry as well as whittles down its potential to utilize cotton and to lend a helping hand to the government in meeting energy shortage, the industry is prepared to set up captive power plants run by fuels other than natural gas like solar energy, LPG mix, coal and hydel.
Availability of subsidized finance, say at 3%, would help to initiate captive power generation on appreciable scale. APTMA urge the government of Pakistan to make such an option feasible by the provision of low-cost finance.
Likewise there is potential for increasing the yield of cotton crop from 13 million bales to 26 million bales by bringing about improvement in seed quality and developing remedy for Cotton Leaf Curl Virus, White Fly and Mealy Bugs.
Former Chairman APTMA, Gohar Ijaz paid rich tributes to the Governor Punjab for making sincere efforts in getting GSP Plus. APTMA Chairman (S.Z) Tariq Saud and S M Muneer and also spoke on the occasion.